According To The Data, Salespeople Should Work On Saturday And Play Golf On Monday

This is  a guest post from Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer at Hubspot. Mark has done some amazing things at Hubspot and the data they’ve been gathering on sales and marketing is impressive.  This post on email timing is a great example of connecting with prospects.

I hope you like it.

Break it down Mark —

This is an actual email thread I had with the VP of Global Sales Operations at a $10B+ revenue company.  After a good discovery call with a strong next step, the executive went dark.  Here is my follow up exchange with him.

—————————————–

On Jun 1, 2014, at 9:29 PM, “Mark Roberge” wrote:

Hope the weekend went well QQQQQ.  I wanted to follow up on scheduling this call.  How is your schedule this week?

Best,

Mark

———————————————————

On Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 9:44 PM, QQQQQ wrote:

Hello, I am out of the office for the next week. Can we shoot for connecting week after next?

QQQQQQ

————————————–

On Jun 1, 2014, at 9:45 PM, “Mark Roberge” wrote:

Definitely QQQQQ.  Is there a time that works for you?

—————————————

On Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 9:50 PM, QQQQQQ wrote:

How about 4-5PM Friday the 13th?

QQQQQ

———————————————

On Jun 1, 2014, at 9:53 PM, “Mark Roberge” wrote:

 

Confirmed QQQQQ.  Enjoy your time off.

 

——-

There is nothing that notable about this exchange.  In fact, many can probably criticize the overall approach to this stage of the process.  However, if you look closely, there is an interesting take-away.  This entire exchange occurred between 9:29 PM and 9:53 PM on a Sunday night.

At the time I wrote the email, I was not running an experiment or setting myself up for a blog article — I was simply preparing for my week before the craze of Monday morning.  One of my salespeople had requested I make this follow up.  I had planned to schedule the email using Signals for Monday morning, hoping to be the first email in the executives Inbox.  However, I literally forgot to.

Good thing! As you saw, the meeting was booked less than 30 minutes later.

According to some new data, this result was not a fluke.  Our recent report on Sales Email Best Practices analyzed the days and times when sales emails are most successful.  One of the key charts on this analysis is shown below.  In this chart, we analyzed 6.4 million 1:1 emails sent by Signals, and compared the volume of emails sends with the open rates of those emails by day of the week.

 

email-open-rate-time-from-signals-by-hubspot (1)

The gray line shows the number of emails sent each day of the week.  This line illustrates that most emails were sent on Monday, with over 1,000,000 sent that day.  The least amount of emails were sent on Saturday and Sunday, of course, with under 200,000 sent on each of those days.

The black line shows the open rate of the emails for each day of the week.  The worst days for open rates are Monday and Tuesday.  However, the open rate gradually increases over the course of the week and then spikes on Saturday and Sunday.

Interesting.  So what is going on here?

Perhaps I can speculate.  Salespeople jump into their week energized from the weekend with high hopes for a big week.  They pound the phones and their email, prospecting to as many of their leads as possible.  As the week progresses, they lose a little steam.  Maybe they do happy hour on Thursday.  Maybe they leave early for the weekend on Friday.

However, for the executives receiving the sales emails, the opposite behavior occurs.  Executives are bombarded with the week’s activities on Monday morning.  The first half of the week is jammed with meetings.   Finally, as the week comes to a close and things slow down a bit, they have a chance to catch up on email.   Some of that email flows into the weekend when they finally have a chance to clean out the inbox after the kids are asleep.  That certainly describes my work week.

What do you think?  Am I close in my speculation?

So how do we respond as a sales team?  Should we really take Monday off and work on Saturday, as I suggest in the title?  Probably not.  However, I think there are some really important tactics that can be taken away from these results.

  1. When you are behind on your goal, digging in on the weekend can be a very productive exercise.
  2. Schedule call blitzes for the end of the week, not the beginning.  Consider a weekend email blitz if the team is behind or needs a big month.
  3. Use sales email scheduling tools like Signals to schedule some outbound emails for the weekend.  This is the opposite of our instincts but the data suggests it will work.
  4. Download the free mobile version of Signals to stay on top of executives opening your sales emails on the weekend while you are away from your PC.  Don’t be afraid to spit off a quick response at the moment of the open to instigate an email dialogue while you have the executive’s attention.

What other ideas do people have based on this analysis?

—————————–

2013 Roberge 2Mark is Chief Revenue Officer of the HubSpot Sales Division.  At HubSpot, he increased revenue over 6,000% and expanded the worldwide salesteam from 1 to 450 employees. These results placed HubSpot #33 on the 2011 INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. Mark was ranked #19 in Forbes’ Top 30 Social Sellers in the World. He was also awarded the 2010 Salesperson of the Year at the MIT Sales Conference.

Mark holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he wasawarded the Patrick McGovern award for his contributions to entrepreneurship at MIT.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University.  Mark has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Inc Magazine, BostonGlobe, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, and other major publications for his entrepreneurial ventures.

Keenan

  • Very clever insights here Mark. Made me think a little bit how those of us in the automotive retail industry need to reconsider their follow-up process with prospects and leads that originate from the Internet.

    For example, if a guest submits an inquiry online, our CRM instantly attaches an automated email follow up process to that guest if initial contact isn’t made. The automated process runs for 90 days or until contact is made.

    The problem with the CRM though is that it’s not “smart”. So if a guest submits an inquiry at 11:03pm on Thursday night, all scheduled email follow up gets sent out at, you guessed it, at 11:03pm.

    So in this example, the “Day 3” email would go out on Sunday at 11:03pm. Probably not the best time to reach a guest.

    Now a “with it” sales rep or BDC agent will recognize this and manually adjust the follow up timings. However with the sheer volume of leads we get, I’d be naive to suggest that this is happening on a regular basis.

    The original thought behind this process (from way back in the early 2000’s) was that if a consumer was online and shopping for a vehicle, if a sales rep or BDC agent didn’t get a hold of them immediately after the lead was received, the best time to contact them would be at the same time they originally submitted their information (because that was clearly when they had free time otherwise they wouldn’t be online shopping)

    What we know now though is that car shoppers are researching at all times of the day, across various devices and touching more resources than ever before they make a decision.

    The irony is that while technology and shopping habits have changed, we’re still trying to follow up with that prospect in the same way that we’ve always done it and then we’re scratching our heads as to why we’re making less and less contact each year.

    What we really need to do is treat each new Internet based lead as a unique opportunity that has to be handled with care and a customized follow up plan. Dumping them all in the same bucket and treating them the same way doesn’t seem to make sense any more (if it ever did!).

    Taking into account the best days and times for email opens is definitely a good place to start. There’s probably some technological challenges involved in programming our CRM to act accordingly, but hey, it’s 2014….anything is possible, right?!

    I apologize for this comment being long winded and slightly off topic, however your article was a fantastic thought starter for me personally, so I thank you!

    • Mark Roberge

      Great points Jason, and not off topic. The high level take-aways from your comment and the overall article is there are increasingly available ways to incorporate science into the follow up strategy so take advantage. Every buyer context is a little bit different so there is probably no generic answer that works for everyone. As to your specific comment, you are certainly operating within the top 10% of sophistication from what I have observed in the marketplace. In the specific example you raise, I have seen organizations improve their efficiency by letting sales own the lead first for a few days or weeks and then manually place the lead into an automation campaign of their choosing, in turn assigning ownership of the lead over to marketing. In most cases, the sales person would still get credit if the lead ends up re-surfacing and making a purchase, so the sales person is motivated to think about which marketing campaign to put the lead in.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Hits the spot. I’ve been trying to finds articles like these for new ideas for my blogs and business. And after reading this I knew I found gold. Amazing. Thanks!